The Purge: Election Year

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The Purge: Election Year
The Purge Election Year.png
Theatrical release poster
Directed byJames DeMonaco
Produced by
Written byJames DeMonaco
Music byNathan Whitehead
CinematographyJacques Jouffret
Edited byTodd E. Miller
Distributed byUniversal Pictures
Release date
  • July 1, 2016 (2016-07-01) (United States)
Running time
109 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States
Budget$10 million[2]
Box office$118.6 million[3]

The Purge: Election Year is a 2016 American action horror film written and directed by James DeMonaco and starring Frank Grillo, Elizabeth Mitchell, and Mykelti Williamson. It is the sequel to 2014's The Purge: Anarchy and is the third installment in the Purge franchise. Jason Blum and Michael Bay are among the film's producers.

The film was released on July 1, 2016 and received mixed reviews from critics. It grossed over $118 million worldwide, becoming the highest-grossing film of the series before being passed by the fourth film, The First Purge, in July 2018.[4]


A young Charlene "Charlie" Roan and her family are tied up by a masked purger. He taunts them with his "purge playlist", and then tells them they will play a final purge game called "Mommy's Choice." He then proceeds to kill the rest of Charlie's family and leaves her as the only survivor of her family. Eighteen years later, Roan is a U.S. Senator campaigning for the U.S. Presidency, promising to end the annual purge nights. Former police sergeant Leo Barnes is now head of security for Roan. The New Founding Fathers of America's (NFFA) leader, Caleb Warrens and their candidate, Minister Edwidge Owens, view Roan as a threat; in the guise of regaining the public's trust, revoke immunity for rank 10 or higher government officials to kill her on Purge night.

Watching the presidential debate are deli owner Joe Dixon, his assistant Marcos, and former purger turned EMT Laney Rucker. A pair of teenage girls enters the store and shoplifts, only to be cornered by Joe. The girls mock Joe until Laney intervenes; recognizing her as a famous ex-Purger, they leave peacefully. Joe receives a phone call stating the cost of his purge insurance has increased beyond his affordability. Joe decides to guard his store himself, despite Marcos and Laney's pleas not to. At the same time, the country's so-called "Murder tourism" booms the economy due to tourists visiting the United States to participate in the annual Purge nights.

On the night of the purge, Joe guards his store and is joined by Marcos, and together they manage to repel an attack by the teenage girls. Laney and her partner Dawn patrol the city in an ambulance, providing medical care to the wounded. Roan decides to wait out the purge from her home rather than a secure location to secure the vote, and is accompanied by Barnes, Chief Couper, Eric, and additional security forces. However, a betrayal by Chief Couper and Eric allows a neo-Nazi paramilitary force led by Earl Danzinger to kill the security detail and invade the house. Barnes escorts Roan to safety, but is wounded in the process. He detonates a bomb in the house, killing Eric and Chief Couper.

Navigating the hostile streets of Washington D.C., Barnes and Roan attempt to seek shelter, but are ambushed by a gang of Purgers and taken captive. Before they can be executed, Joe and Marcos kill the gang, having seen the pair's plight from the store's rooftop. As they take shelter in the store, the teenage girls return with reinforcements. However, Laney runs over the two girls caught shoplifting earlier and kills half the group. As the other Purgers threaten to break in, they leave for a safer hideout. The team is ambushed by Danzinger in a helicopter, and seeks refuge beneath an overpass wherein Barnes realizes they were tracked by the bullet lodged inside him, and manages to extract it. After a confrontation with a large number of Crips, the team helps their leader's injured comrade. In return, the Crips plant the bullet in another area to divert the paramilitary team; when the gunmen arrive, the Crips ambush and shoot them dead.

The team arrives at an underground antipurge hideout run by Dante Bishop. Barnes discovers that Bishop's group intends to assassinate the NFFA, in an effort to end the purge. A large group of paramilitary forces arrives at the hideout looking for Bishop. Barnes and Roan escape back to the streets and meet Joe, Marcos, and Laney, who had left the hideout earlier to return to Joe's store. They board an ambulance.

While fleeing the city, the ambulance is hit by Danzinger's team. Roan is pulled from the van by the soldiers before Barnes can assist. Barnes leads the group and Bishop's team to a fortified cathedral where the NFFA plans to sacrifice her. Before Roan can be killed by the NFFA, the group arrives and assassinates Warrens, causing a shootout that kills the entire congregation except Owens and another NFFA loyalist, Harmon James, who escape. Owens is caught by Bishop's group, but Roan manages to persuade them to spare him. The remaining paramilitary forces arrive, killing Bishop and his team. Danzinger and Barnes engage in a melee which ends with the former's death. As Roan and the team free the imprisoned purge victims, James emerges and kills a released prisoner. Joe shoots him, but is fatally wounded. Before dying, Joe asks Marcos to take care of his store.

Two months later, Roan wins the election in a landslide, while Barnes is appointed the new Director of the Secret Service. Marcos and Laney renovate Joe's store, which had been looted and demolished by the surviving half of the teenage girls' group, and continue to run it in his memory. A news report then states that NFFA supporters have staged violent uprisings across the country in response to election results.



On October 6, 2014, it was announced that James DeMonaco would be back to write and direct the third film, while producers Sebastian Lemercier, Blumhouse Productions' Jason Blum, and Platinum Dunes partners Michael Bay, Andrew Form, and Brad Fuller, would also be back.[7] On August 3, 2015, it was announced that Frank Grillo would return for the sequel to play Leo Barnes.[5] On September 10, 2015, more cast was announced, including Betty Gabriel, Edwin Hodge, Kyle Secor, Joseph Julian Soria, Mykelti Williamson, and Elizabeth Mitchell.[6]


Shooting began on September 16, 2015. Although a few scenes were filmed in Washington, DC, most of the movie was shot in Rhode Island, both in its capital Providence,[8] and Woonsocket.[9]

The main streets of Woonsocket were transformed into the near-future Washington, DC.[10] The NFFA-captured Catholic cathedral where Owens' purge mass takes place, as well as the cathedral crypt scenes, were filmed at the St. Ann's Church Complex. The Rhode Island State House stood in as the White House and its rotunda and some of its interiors such as the Press Room and basement were also used for filming. Numerous landmarks of both Woonsocket and Providence make cameos in the film. The Roan household was shot in another part of Woonsocket and some of the interiors were shot on a soundstage to allow more room for cameras and crew.


Nathan Whitehead returned to compose the score, having done the music for the first two Purge films. The soundtrack was released on July 1, 2016, to coincide with the release of the film.[citation needed]


Originally, the film was set to be released on Monday, July 4, 2016, to coincide with the Fourth of July, but was moved to Friday, July 1.[11] It was released in the United Kingdom on August 26.

Home Media[edit]

The Purge: Election Year was released on digital platforms on September 20, 2016[12] and on Blu-Ray and DVD on October 4, 2016.[12] A 4K UHD Blu-Ray release occurred on June 12, 2018.[13]


Box office[edit]

The Purge: Election Year grossed $79.2 million in North America and $39.4 million in other territories for a worldwide total of $118.6 million, against a budget of $10 million.[3] Deadline Hollywood calculated the net profit of the film to be $44.8 million, when factoring together all expenses and revenues.[14]

In the United States and Canada, the film opened alongside The BFG and The Legend of Tarzan, and was projected to gross around $25 million in its opening weekend.[15] The film grossed $3.6 million from Thursday night previews, outperforming both of its predecessors (the original's $3.4 million in 2013 and The Purge: Anarchy's in $2.6 million in 2014).[16] In its opening weekend, the film grossed $31.4 million, landing in between the $34 million debut for the first film and the $29 million opening for the second, and finished third at the box office behind Finding Dory ($41.4 million) and The Legend of Tarzan ($38.6 million). The film grossed a total of $34.8 million over its four-day July 4 holiday frame.[17]

Critical response[edit]

On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has a "rotten" approval rating of 53% based on 145 reviews and an average rating of 5.4/10. The audience approval rating was lower at 48%. The site's critical consensus reads, "It isn't particularly subtle, but The Purge: Election Year's blend of potent jolts and timely themes still add up to a nastily effective diversion."[18] On Metacritic, the film has a score of 55 out of 100 based on 31 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[19] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B+" on an A+ to F scale.[20]

A.O. Scott of The New York Times gave the movie a positive review, saying ""The Purge: Election Year" takes itself just seriously enough to provide the expected measure of fun - a blend of aggression, release and relief."[21] On the other hand, Alan Zilberman of the Washington Post gave the movie 1.5 stars out of 4, saying "Even DeMonaco seems bored by the sieges, escapes and gun battles. Silly one-liners are the only saving grace, and that's because such acting veterans as Williamson know how to sell them."


In September 2016, James DeMonaco, who wrote and directed every film in the series thus far, stated that the fourth Purge film would be a prequel to the trilogy. The film will reportedly show how the United States got to the point of accepting the Purge Night.[22]

On February 17, 2017, DeMonaco announced that a fourth installment is in development at Universal Studios. DeMonaco will write the script, while Jason Blum from Blumhouse Productions and Michael Bay, Brad Fuller, and Andrew Form from Platinum Dunes will return to produce the film with Sébastien K. Lemercier.[23] The film was set for a July 4, 2018 release date.[24]

On July 20, 2017, it was announced that Gerard McMurray will be directing the fourth film titled, The First Purge.[25]


  1. ^ "The Purge: Election Year (15)". British Board of Film Classification. August 11, 2016. Retrieved April 29, 2018.
  2. ^ "2016 Feature Film Study" (PDF). Film L.A. Inc. May 23, 2017. Retrieved July 4, 2018.
  3. ^ a b "The Purge: Election Year (2016)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved April 29, 2018.
  4. ^ "The Purge Series". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved April 29, 2018.
  5. ^ a b Kroll, Justin (August 3, 2015). "Frank Grillo to Return for 'Purge 3' (EXCLUSIVE)". Retrieved April 29, 2018.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g Hipes, Patrick (September 10, 2015). "'Purge 3' Castings: Universal/Blumhouse Pic Gears Up With Additions". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved April 29, 2018.
  7. ^ Fleming Jr, Mike (October 6, 2014). "'The Purge' Scares Up Third Film With Director James DeMonaco". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved April 29, 2018.
  8. ^ Smith, Andy (September 10, 2015). "Movie 'The Purge 3' to film in R.I." The Providence Journal. Retrieved April 29, 2018.
  9. ^ "Filming for 'Purge 3' begins in Woonsocket". September 16, 2015. Retrieved April 29, 2018.
  10. ^ Heim, R.J. (September 17, 2015). "'Purge 3' begins shooting in Rhode Island". Retrieved April 29, 2018.
  11. ^ Stone, Natalie (January 8, 2015). "'The Purge 3' Gets 2016 Release Date". Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved April 29, 2018.
  12. ^ a b "The Purge: Election Year DVD Release Date October 4, 2016". DVDs Release Dates. Retrieved 2018-05-04.
  13. ^ The Purge: Election Year 4K Blu-ray, retrieved 2018-05-04
  14. ^ Fleming Jr, Mike (March 30, 2017). "The Outliers Of 2016: Smaller Movies With Big Profits". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved April 29, 2018.
  15. ^ Lang, Brent (June 16, 2016). "'The BFG,' 'The Legend of Tarzan' Failing to Generate Much Box Office Heat". Variety. Retrieved April 29, 2018.
  16. ^ McNary, Dave (July 1, 2016). "Box Office: 'The Purge 3' Expunges 'Legend of Tarzan,' 'The BFG' on Thursday Night". Retrieved April 29, 2018.
  17. ^ "Box Office Mojo". Retrieved April 29, 2018.
  18. ^ "The Purge: Election Year (2016)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved April 29, 2018.
  19. ^ "The Purge: Election Year reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved April 29, 2018.
  20. ^ "CinemaScore". Retrieved April 29, 2018.
  21. ^ "Review: 'The Purge: Election Year' Offers a Campaign Platform of Blood Lust". The New York Times. Retrieved May 3, 2018.
  22. ^ Eisenberg, Eric (September 29, 2016). "This Is What The Purge 4 Will Be About". Retrieved April 29, 2018.
  23. ^ "New 'Purge' Movie Gets Summer 2018 Release Date". Hollywood Reporter. February 17, 2017. Retrieved April 29, 2018.
  24. ^ "Warning: The Next Purge Will Take Place on July 4, 2018". February 17, 2017. Retrieved April 29, 2018.
  25. ^ Evry, Max (July 20, 2017). "The Purge 4 Director Will be Burning Sands' Gerard McMurray". Retrieved April 29, 2018.

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